Niemann Leads at World Youth after Seven Rounds

Seven rounds have come and gone at the 2019 World Youth Championships in Mumbai, India. 15 Americans are among the 462 competitors representing 64 countries, with more than a third of the competitors holding international titles. The U.S. team, led by Head of Delegation GM Elshan Moradiabadi, is the third largest in Mumbai, trailing only India (146 players) and Russia (16 players) in size. While all the Americans are on the scoreboard and fighting hard, the biggest news after seven rounds has to be the performance of IM Hans Niemann. He leads the Open Under 16 section with a score of 6/7, and has a performance rating of nearly 2600 thus far.
Hans Niemann (photo Carol Meyer)
Niemann’s Round 7 game against IM Rudik Makarian shows that the old truism – ‘kids aren’t good at endgames’ – can no longer be trusted.

[Event "World Youth Open U16"]
[Date "2019.10.07"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Niemann, Hans Moke"]
[Black "Makarian, Rudik"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A61"]
[WhiteElo "2439"]
[BlackElo "2386"]
[PlyCount "122"]
[EventDate "2019.10.02"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "IND"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 g6 6. Nc3 d6 7. Bf4 Bg7 8. h3
O-O 9. e3 Ne8 10. Be2 Nd7 11. O-O Ne5 12. Nd2 Rb8 13. a4 b6 14. Bg3 f5 15. Rb1
Nc7 16. Nb5 Nxb5 17. axb5 Bd7 18. f4 Nf7 19. Qb3 a6 20. bxa6 b5 21. Qa3 Qb6 22.
b4 Ra8 23. bxc5 dxc5 24. Nc4 Qxa6 25. Qxa6 Rxa6 26. Ne5 Rd6 27. Nxd7 Rxd7 28.
Rfc1 c4 29. Rxb5 Nd6 30. Rb6 Re8 31. Bf2 Bd4 32. exd4 Rxe2 33. Be1 Ne4 34. Bb4
c3 35. Bxc3 Nxc3 36. Rxc3 Re4 37. Rc4 Kf7 38. g3 Rxd5 39. Rb7+ Re7 40. Rxe7+
Kxe7 41. Kf2 Ra5 42. g4 Kd6 43. Kg3 Ra3+ 44. Kh4 Rf3 45. d5 Kxd5 {[#]} 46. Rc7
Rxf4 47. Kg5 Ra4 48. Rxh7 fxg4 49. Rh4 Ra3 50. hxg4 Ra4 51. Rh6 Ke6 52. Rxg6+
Kf7 53. Kh6 Ra1 54. Rg7+ Kf8 55. g5 Ra6+ 56. Kh7 Ra5 57. Rg8+ Ke7 58. g6 Ra1
59. Kg7 Ra7 60. Rf8 Ke6+ 61. Kh8 Kd5 1-0

ChessBase India’s dynamic duo of IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal have been doing yeoman’s work covering the World Youth Championships, and Shah sat down with Niemann after yesterday’s round to talk about the game. In the video we learn that Niemann is in Mumbai without his computer (as he lacks the proper adapter!), that he is being prepared by IM Brandon Jacobson via phone, and that he credits his study of rook endings with Jacob Aagaard at the 50th US Chess School with helping him win! Shah also talked to Niemann after the third round, where he drew with German FM Oliver Stark. Other notable American results thus far:
  • WIM Thalia Cervantes Landerio is in 9th place in the Girls U18 with 4.5/7.
  • Two players are in striking range in the Open U14: Logan Wu (5/7) is in 11th place and Alex Kolay (4.5/7) is in 14th place.
  • WFM Annapoorni Meiyappan is in 21st place in the Girls U14 with 4.5/7.

A Global Game Many of the top juniors in the world are in Mumbai, including India’s 14 year old phenom GM R Praggnanandhaa. “Pragg” is currently tied with IM Guha Mitrabha, also from India, for second place in the Open Under 18 section. Both trail Iranian IM Aryan Gholami by half a point. Pragg’s fifth round win over IM Kalyan Arjun (IND) is perhaps his best of the event.

[Event "World Youth Open U18"]
[Date "2019.10.05"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Praggnanandhaa, R."]
[Black "Arjun, Kalyan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C50"]
[WhiteElo "2567"]
[BlackElo "2483"]
[PlyCount "113"]
[EventDate "2019.10.02"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "IND"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. O-O d6 6. c3 a6 7. a4 Ba7 8. Re1
O-O 9. h3 Ne7 10. Nbd2 Ng6 11. d4 c6 12. Ba2 h6 13. Bb1 Re8 14. Nf1 Be6 15. Ng3
Qc7 16. Be3 Kh7 17. Qd2 Rad8 18. Bd3 a5 19. Nf5 Bxf5 20. exf5 Nf8 21. dxe5 Bxe3
22. Qxe3 dxe5 23. Bc4 e4 24. Nh2 Re7 25. Ng4 N8d7 26. Rad1 Nxg4 27. hxg4 Nf6
28. Rxd8 Qxd8 29. g5 hxg5 30. Qxg5 Kg8 31. g3 Rd7 32. Kg2 Rd1 33. Re2 Qb6 34.
Qf4 Rd8 35. g4 Qc5 36. Ba2 Re8 37. g5 Nd5 38. Qh4 e3 39. g6 Qd6 40. gxf7+ Kxf7
41. Rxe3 Rxe3 42. fxe3 Qf6 43. Qf4 Ke7 44. Bxd5 cxd5 45. Qc7+ Ke8 46. Qb8+ Qd8
47. Qxd8+ Kxd8 48. Kf3 Ke7 49. Kg4 Kd7 50. Kg5 Kd6 51. f6 gxf6+ 52. Kxf6 Kc5
53. b3 Kd6 54. Kf5 Kc5 55. Ke5 b6 56. Ke6 Kc6 57. b4 1-0

One of the biggest stories of the tournament thus far is the emergence of R Abinandhan (IND) and Vo Pham Then Phuc (VIE) in the Open Under 14 section. Abinandhan, rated 1830 coming into the event, is tied for the lead with 6/7 and has a current performance rating of 2568! Vo, rated 1807, is in shared second with 5.5 points. It will be interesting to see if these two can keep it up, or if the clock will strike midnight on their Cinderella turns.

[Event "World Youth Open U14"]
[Date "2019.10.07"]
[Round "7.3"]
[White "Abinandhan, R."]
[Black "Tsvetkov, Andrey"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B26"]
[WhiteElo "1830"]
[BlackElo "2382"]
[PlyCount "121"]
[EventDate "2019.10.02"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "IND"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 g6 5. d3 Bg7 6. Be3 e5 7. Nh3 Nge7 8. O-O
O-O 9. Qd2 Nd4 10. f4 Bg4 11. Kh1 Qd7 12. Ng1 Rae8 13. Nd1 exf4 14. Bxf4 Ne6
15. Bh6 Bxh6 16. Qxh6 Bxd1 17. Raxd1 Qa4 18. Bh3 Qxa2 19. Rf6 Qxb2 20. Rdf1 Nd4
21. Bd7 Rd8 22. Nh3 Ndf5 23. R6xf5 gxf5 24. exf5 f6 25. Be6+ Kh8 26. Nf4 Rg8
27. Nh5 Qe5 28. Nxf6 Rg7 29. Nh5 Rf8 30. f6 Rgf7 31. Bxf7 Rxf7 32. Qg7+ Rxg7
33. fxg7+ Qxg7 34. Nxg7 Kxg7 35. Ra1 Nc6 36. Kg2 a6 37. c3 Ne5 38. Rb1 b5 39.
Ra1 Nxd3 40. Rxa6 d5 41. Rd6 d4 42. cxd4 c4 43. Rc6 Nb4 44. Rc5 Nd3 45. Rc7+
Kf6 46. Kf3 Ke6 47. Ke3 Kd5 48. Rxh7 b4 49. Rh5+ Kc6 50. Rh6+ Kb5 51. Rh8 b3
52. Rb8+ Ka4 53. Kd2 Ka3 54. Kc3 Nb2 55. Ra8+ Na4+ 56. Kxc4 b2 57. Rb8 Ka2 58.
d5 b1=Q 59. Rxb1 Kxb1 60. d6 Nb6+ 61. Kb5 1-0

Rest Day Some of the US Delegation ventured out on Tuesday’s rest day. US Chess Executive Director Carol Meyer is in Mumbai and tells CLO:
Approximately half of the US Chess player, family and coaching delegation made their way into South Mumbai today to see important historic and cultural sites. Much of the day was spent traveling by boat to Elephanta Island, to see the Elephanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once there, the delegation saw many things, including wild monkeys (some of which were quite precocious and stole food from children), feral dogs, and a roaming goat. Of course, the main attraction was the caves, built some 1200-1400 years ago, and damaged prior to the British settlement during colonial times. The delegation also saw the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Gateway to India. The trip was cut short due to a spectacularly hot and humid day (107 degrees F heat index).

Current American point totals: Section Leaders after Round 7: Open U14: IM Aydin Suleymanli (AZE), FM L.R. Srihari (IND), R. Abinandhan (IND), 6/7 Girls U14: WIM Ravi Rakshitta (IND), WFM Ekaterina Nasyrova (RUS), Eline Roebers (NED), 6/7 Open U16: IM Hans Niemann (USA), 6/7 Girls U16: WFM Nazerke Nurgali (KAZ), WCM Leya Garifullina (RUS), 6/7 Open U18: IM Aryan Gholami (IRI), 6/7 Girls U18: WIM Polina Shuvalova (RUS), 6/7 Wednesday’s Round 8 pairings:
Quick links: Homepage Schedule Results: Open U14 Girls U14 Open U16 Girls U16 Open U18 Girls U18 Team USA results Live games